History

Citizens Alliance Bank, formally known as Citizens State Bank of Clara City (CSBCC) until October of 2010, was originally chartered as the German American Bank on November 15, 1902.

 

The bank operated as a Company Bank under the name of German American Bank until the year 1909 when it was incorporated and given a Minnesota state charter under the name of German American State Bank. The bank continued to operate under this name until 1918 when, due to adverse sentiment toward the German people as a result of World War I; the name was changed to Citizens State Bank of Clara City.

 

On October 2, 2010, CSBCC changed its name and logo to Citizens Alliance Bank to better reflect the institution’s continued growth and expansion into new communities.

 

The bank has experienced numerous challenging economic events and substantial regulatory and competitive changes.  Most notably, the bank survived the Great Depression of 1929 and the Great Recession of 2008, which saw numerous community bank failures.  Despite these two formidable trials, Citizens Alliance Bank remained open, without interruption of service to its customers.

 

In 1955, at age 26, C. R. (Kelly) Forstrom, originally from Willmar, Minnesota moved to Clara City with his wife Norma as a result of purchasing a minority interest in the bank. Over the years, C. R. eventually acquired all of the shares of the bank as well as Citizens State Insurance Agency.  In 1982, Forstrom Bancorporation, Inc. (FBC) was formed as a parent or holding company to be used as a conduit for future bank acquisitions.  At that time, all the stock of Citizens Alliance Bank was transferred from C. R. Forstrom to FBC.  Controlling interest in FBC was sold to C. R’s four sons (Philip, Paul {8-8-59~1-26-2001}, Perry and John) on December 31, 1990.  This was the same day that C. R. retired as President of Citizens Alliance Bank and its various affiliates.

 

A significant event in the history of the bank would include the merger of Americana State Bank’s (Clara City) assets and liabilities into Citizens Alliance Bank in October 1986.  Over the past 114 years, our primary location has changed a number of times within Clara City.  After completion of a renovation and expansion of the Americana State Bank facility, all banking operations were moved to 126 North Main Street, Clara City. The bank remained at that location until June 2004 when all of the banking operations were moved into a new building located at 55 1st Street NW in Clara City.  Upon completion of the new facility, the old Americana State Bank facility was donated to the City of Clara City and is now the public library.

 

Citizens Alliance Bank acquired and merged nearby Security State Bank of Maynard in 1991 and a branch of U.S. Bank in Granite Falls in 1995.  Citizens Alliance Bank then acquired and merged First State Bank of Lake Lillian in 2005.  In May 2006, FBC purchased the parent company of Yellow Medicine County Bank in Granite Falls and Echo.  As a result of this purchase, the Yellow Medicine County Bank and its branch office in neighboring Echo, Minnesota were merged into Citizens Alliance Bank.

 

On October 14, 2011 Citizens Alliance Bank merged with its affiliated bank, Security State Bank of Howard Lake (SSBHL) and thereby acquired its branch office in Watertown, Minnesota. SSBHL was originally chartered on September 15, 1915 and until the merger with Citizens Alliance Bank, it operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of FBC. On May 17, 2013 Citizens Alliance Bank merged with its affiliate bank, First State Bank of Murdock. On April 25, 2014 Citizens Alliance Bank merged with its affiliate bank, First Valley Bank of Seeley Lake, Montana.  Effective with the close of business on Friday, April 22, 2016 the wholly-owned affiliate First Bank of Lincoln, Lincoln, Montana was merged into Citizens Alliance Bank.  On Monday, August 7, 2017 the first Loan Production Office of the organization opened in Great Falls, Montana which subsequently was converted into a full service branch effective Monday, July 16, 2018. Construction of a new facility of approximately 5,000 square feet on the West Bank development of Great Falls will commence late summer of 2018. A mixed use, second or third story to this facility may be incorporated into the initial design and construction if interest can be generated from prospective tenants.

 

Over the past 115 years, Citizens Alliance Bank has grown substantially. This can be evidenced by its asset growth that started at $10,000 in 1902 and now exceeds $700 million.

 

Forstrom Bancorporation Inc, and its wholly-owned subsidiary of Citizens Alliance Bank, currently employ approximately 140 people and has consolidated assets of $715 million.